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History Book Club Presents "Crossroads: I Live Where I Like: A Graphic History"

By Koni Benson
July 28, 2021 - 12:00pm

Led by Koni Benson (PhD '09), lecturer, University of the Western Cape, South Africa (author), and Andre Trantraal (illustrator) on Crossroads: I Live Where I Like: A Graphic History

About the book

Crossroads: I Live Where I Like
(PM Press/Kairos, May 2021) 

Drawn by South African political cartoonists the Trantraal brothers and Ashley Marais, Crossroads: I Live Where I Like is a graphic nonfiction history of women-led movements at the forefront of the struggle for land, housing, water, education, and safety in Cape Town over half a century. Drawing on over sixty life narratives, it tells the story of women who built and defended Crossroads, the only informal settlement that successfully resisted the apartheid bulldozers in Cape Town.

The story follows women’s organized resistance from the peak of apartheid in the 1970s to ongoing struggles for decent shelter today. Importantly, this account was workshopped with contemporary housing activists and women’s collectives who chose the most urgent and ongoing themes they felt spoke to and clarified challenges against segregation, racism, violence, and patriarchy standing between the legacy of the colonial and apartheid past and a future of freedom still being fought for.

About the Speakers 

Koni Benson is the author of Crossroads: I Live Where I Like, a graphic novel history on women’s organized resistance to forced removals in South Africa, (illustrated by the Trantraal Brothers and Ashley Marais, PM Press, 2021). She is the co-author with Faeza Meyer of Writing Out Loud: Interventions in the History of A Land Occupation (forthcoming).  With Asher Gamedze and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, she co-produced "Radical Histories II: Ottilie Abrahams Speaks," Owela (Kaleni Kolletive, 2019). With Feminist Alternatives, she co-produced My Dream is to Be Bold: Our Work to End Patriarchy (Pambazuka/ Michigan State UP, 2010). Her writing has been published by the Journal of Southern African Studies, African Studies Review, Feminist Africa, Gender Place and Culture: Feminist Geography, Education as Change, Agenda, South African Labour Bulletin, Zambezia, Khanya College Journal, Pathways to Free Education, ILRIG, Zmagazine, and newspapers in South Africa, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia.

André Trantraal is a writer, illustrator, and translator living in Observatory, Cape Town. He is the writer of the comic books Coloureds and Stormkaap. His work has been exhibited in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Cape Town and his political cartoons have appeared in a range of South African newspapers. Andre has been involved in various political comics for a variety of projects. Recently he has written and illustrated a series of children's books about two boys who grow up on the Cape Flats called Keegan & Samier. He is working on a graphic novel at present.

What is the History Book Club?

The History Book Club is a monthly event series that brings together alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the Department of History to engage virtually with our faculty and graduates, and learn about their recently published books.

Do I need to read the book to attend this gathering?

You do not! Our History Book Club gatherings are designed to be enjoyed by any history-lover, whether or not you’ve read the featured book.

What can I expect as a participant?

The format of each gathering varies as we learn and try new things. Often our speakers give a talk after which there is a Q&A session with attendees. 

This event is co-sponsored by the East Side Freedom Library.